This chart will show how the UW's funding has changed over the last decade. You'll see how state funding went down from 27.0% in 2006 to 23.3% when Governor Scott Walker took office in 2011. But it's even worse now, with state funding dropping all the way to 19.0% after this last year. Federal grants have also declined when it comes to taking up UW costs, while tuition and fees have taken up much of that slack, along with self-supporting entities such as dorms and student unions.
You can see this trade-off between less state funding and more tuition and fees over the last 10 years in this chart, and it especially broke apart once Walker and WisGOP came to power in 2011. And despite Gov Walker's claims of a tuition freeze, you can see that this gap has continued to grow over the 3 years that policy has been in effect.
In addition to trading higher tuition and fees for lower state appropriations, WisGOP’s Legislature and governor also continue to follow the ALEC agenda by defunding the UW System is the hopes of screwing it up by disrespecting those who work there through the loss of take-home pay (via Act 10) and tenure protections. As a result, it is no surprise that much of the UW’s talent base is now more likely listen to offers from other schools. That’s reflected in the figure released this week which shows that UW-Madison had to give out $23.6 million in retention bonuses to its faculty and staff in Fiscal Year 2015-16.
The amount of offers increased markedly from the previous fiscal year, which ended as the Legislature was debating those 2015-17 budget cuts to the UW System, and with those changes in place last year, it made the UW staff an even more inviting target for other institutions.
This much was clear: More retention offers, 232, were made last year, compared to 177 in 2014-2015, according to a new report on retention efforts. But because retention activities are not tracked in a central data base, detailed comparisons of retention costs from year to year were not immediately available, [UW-Madison Provost Sarah] Mangelsdorf said.Which means only $1.9 million of the $23.6 million in UW-Madison retention funds actually came from taxpayers, conserving valuable funds that had been cut by Governor Walker and the WisGOP Legislature. UW-Madison was fortunate to have research-based resources like WARF to tap funds from, and to have a large donor base that consistently puts money into ventures like WARF along with other UW-Madison academic and social initiatives.
And while colleagues at other universities made no secret of the fact that the controversies at UW-Madison over state funding cuts and tenure policy revisions were prompting them to try to lure faculty away, Mangelsdorf said it is not clear how large a factor those issues played in faculty decisions….
Campus officials were successful in 2015-2016 in retaining faculty in 77 percent of cases where they had been offered other jobs and 62 percent of cases where officials made preemptive offers to keep prized faculty members, Mangelsdorf told reporters.
Some $21.7 million paid in retention efforts were one-time expenditures financed through a gift from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). Those expenditures included such things as paying for research assistants, remodeling labs or buying equipment.
WARF annually donates money to UW-Madison to support research, and campus officials could say Friday only that the gift was “somewhat larger” last year.
The same cannot be said at most other UW System schools, which rely more on state aid to pay its faculty and staff, along with keeping the lights on for the classrooms. Those schools are the ones at larger risk in the Age of Fitzwalkerstan, as they would likely have to dip into their already-scarce funds to keep the highly-qualified teachers and staff at their institutions, especially as they increasingly become targets from other university systems in states that value their educators and higher education in general.
Also noteworthy is that Manglesdorf mentioned that offers for tenured and tenure-track positions at UW was reduced by over 15% last year. With more money being needed to spend to keep current faculty in light of the disrespect shown to them by the WisGOP-run state government, and less money available from other sources, it becomes much harder for UW-Madison to recruit new talent to work with the people they are already struggling to keep.
With state funding continuing to go down and top faculty continuing to get offers from other places who want to succeed, does this sound like a UW System and flagship school on their way up to you? And do you think that trend will change in any way with as long as the ALEC crew is in charge of things at the Capitol, especially as gifts and other self-support can’t be counted on to continue to take up the slack? Yeah, me neither.